The February 25 Nigerian presidential election has been challenged by two top candidates, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who are questioning the victory of president-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
While Tinubu won with 36.61% of the vote, Atiku came second with 29.07% and Obi third with 25.40%. Atiku and Obi have filed separate petitions with the Presidential Election Petition Court, asking for the nullification of the election on the grounds of fraud, disqualification of Tinubu, or the declaration of themselves as the winners.
If elections are nullified, it can lead to protests, instability, and uncertainty, even leading to violence and conflict.
Despite any outcome, Atiku and Obi are confident they can be victorious in court but it is worth noting that Nigeria has no history of nullifying a presidential election since 1999. The outcome of the trial will be especially significant in determining the future of Nigeria’s democracy and rule of law.
Atiku, Peter Obi confident of victory
Both Atiku and Obi are confident they would reclaim their “stolen mandate” in court.
It must, however, be noted that since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy, no presidential election has been nullified by the court.
Nevertheless, the two opposition presidential candidate can draw some encouragement from these two African countries where the courts have overturned the presidential elections.
Malawi presidential election 2020
In Malawi 2020 presidential election, the incumbent President Peter Mutharika was declared the winner, but his opponent Lazarus Chakwera, leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), challenged the results in court.
After months of legal proceedings, the Malawi Constitutional Court nullified the election results in February 2020. The court found that there were widespread irregularities and evidence of tampering with the vote count, and ordered a fresh election to be held within 150 days.
The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s historic decision which marked the first time a court had overturned a presidential election in Malawi, and one of the few times such a decision has been made in Africa.
The decision was widely celebrated by opposition supporters, who saw it as a victory for democracy and the rule of law.
In the subsequent election held in June 2020, Chakwera emerged as the winner, defeating Mutharika and becoming the new President of Malawi. His victory was seen as a major milestone for democracy in the country and on the African continent as a whole.
Kenya presidential election 2017
The Kenyan presidential election in 2017 was a highly controversial and contentious event, with allegations of fraud, violence, and irregularities leading to a re-run of the election.
The election was held on August 8, 2017, with incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party facing off against Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition. The election was closely contested, with Kenyatta declared the winner with 54% of the vote to Odinga’s 45%.
However, Odinga disputed the result, alleging that the election had been rigged and that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had manipulated the vote in favour of Kenyatta. The opposition filed a petition challenging the election results in the Supreme Court of Kenya.
In a historic ruling, the Supreme Court nullified the results of the election, citing irregularities and illegalities in the conduct of the election. The court ordered a re-run of the presidential election within 60 days.
The re-run election was held on October 26, 2017, with Kenyatta emerging as the winner once again, after Odinga withdrew from the race. The re-run was also marred by violence and protests, leading to the deaths of several people.
The election was widely criticized by international observers, who cited the use of excessive force by security forces, the intimidation of opposition supporters, and the lack of transparency in the electoral process. The 2017 election highlighted the deep political divisions and tensions in Kenya and underscored the need for reforms to the electoral system and democratic institutions.
Ivory Coast presidential election 2010
The 2010 presidential election in Ivory Coast was overturned by the country’s Constitutional Council, which declared incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo the winner, despite opposition claims that Alassane Ouattara had won. The election was held on November 28, 2010, but the results were not announced until several days later.
The Electoral Commission initially declared Ouattara the winner, with 54% of the vote to Gbagbo’s 46%. However, the Constitutional Council, which had the final say on election results, overturned the outcome, citing irregularities in certain regions and declaring Gbagbo the winner with 51% of the vote.
The disputed election result led to a political crisis and violence in Ivory Coast, with both Gbagbo and Ouattara claiming the presidency and establishing rival administrations. The conflict escalated into a civil war, with forces loyal to Ouattara eventually seizing control of the country in April 2011 with the help of French and United Nations forces.
Gbagbo was eventually arrested and turned over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he faced charges of crimes against humanity. Ouattara was inaugurated as president and has since been reelected to the position in subsequent elections.
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